The fear of conversations is a factor that can limit the quality of life of many people . There are people who tend to be secluded and isolated in their own mental universe simply because of the fear of not knowing how to manage the dialogues or to give a bad image of themselves, to block themselves without knowing what to say or simply to show a visible nervousness.
Of course, there are different degrees and intensities in which one can be afraid to speak out, but the truth is that being anchored in a counterproductive shyness can limit our options and our freedom, making our lives unnecessarily complicated.
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How can I get more lip service? Learning to speak without fear
Solving these learned fears requires effort, time and above all practice, but having some theoretical references can help make this process easier and more bearable . Reading the keys presented below can be a good way to face this challenge during the first stages of improving this ability to “have lip”.
1. Becoming cultured
This is a step that demands dedication for years and whose value, of course, goes far beyond its implications in the way we relate to people… as well as being very stimulating and fun. Simply, we can make our world of references expand by learning about new subjects and soaking up things you didn’t know before.
Remember that a good conversation is almost always enriched by cultural references that have to do with elements that are not present in the immediate environment where the dialogue takes place. Why not start by loving what we like in order to expand our knowledge?
Thus, a conversation about our interests or areas of study and work can gain in value and relevance if there are many topics that interest you and about which you know things. But, in addition, our self-esteem will improve if we believe that we will always have topics of conversation in practically any situation, which will make it more difficult for us to block ourselves because we don’t know what to say.
2. Exit the comfort zone with self-instruction
If we start from a situation in which starting a conversation or participating in one that is already underway usually makes us nervous, we must assume that improving our speech will involve effort and moments of some initial discomfort . This fact will cause us, if we do not do anything to remedy it, to adopt a passive attitude when we could be talking, avoiding starting dialogues with other people or responding with monosyllables and short phrases so as not to put at risk our image in front of others. In short, we try not to let them get to know us too well.
If we want to break this dynamic, we need to “force ourselves” to participate in complex dialogues, renouncing short-term objectives (not exposing ourselves to nerves and the risk of looking bad) in favour of long-term objectives (having a richer social life and improving our way of relating to people). The simple fact of starting to create situations of fluid communication in complicity with our interlocutors is, in itself, the basis of what it means to be talkative.
Self-instructions are part of this solution . Its application consists, simply, in setting personalized and very concrete objectives and goals to be achieved in a sequential way at the beginning of the process of talking to someone. For self-instructions to be simple, we must keep them in mind when we want to start talking, and we must also learn to relate what happens to us and what we experience with these instructions that we have memorized.
Giving up excuses
A first group of self-instructions must be directed to detect the excuses we use so that we do not have to talk and, thus, neutralize them. In this way, if we realize that we are clinging to an idea that allows us to continue without talking to someone and to stay in our comfort zone (for example, “he looks tired, better not to bother him”), the fact of being prevented from this form of rationalization of excuses will force us to continue with the planned plan.
Using self-instructions to break the ice
The second group of self-instructions can be applied in order to start the conversation, by forcing us to address the person we want to talk to and getting him/her involved in the dialogue . However, it can be said that self-instructions should be left aside once the dialogue has already started, because following a script to talk to someone will make it artificial and not very spontaneous.
3. Learning to listen
One of the easiest facets of participating in a conversation is to let the other person take the lead in the dialogue and the topic of the conversation. So, if we are starting to take steps to get rid of the fear of conversation and there are still things that we find hard to do, adopting the role of “the listener” is a very good option for later progress from there.
This way you will get used to relaxing and simply following the thread of the conversation. In this way, because you won’t experience the nerves that sometimes appear when you are constantly in doubt as to whether it is better to say something or not, you will be able to pay attention to what is being said and have more opportunities to think of creative ways of using the information you receive to give it back in the form of appropriate, witty or generally meaningful responses to others.
In fact, the ability to know how to listen and contribute interesting elements from what the other person has said is a typical characteristic of the good conversationalist. Do you know the concept of active listening?
In order to learn to talk, we must learn to forget the image we are giving and simply immerse ourselves in what the other person is saying, directing almost all our attention towards his speech. This can be complicated if we start the dialogue being very nervous, but with practice it can be achieved .
You may be interested to read this article: “14 key social skills for success in life”
4. Losing the fear of creativity
If we change our philosophy of life so that the most creative and strident elements can have a place in it, our conversations can become more natural and fun. It is good to start with our close friendships.
Rather than using jokes, which are often typical and not of our invention, what we can do is communicate, directly, those ideas or associations that we have come up with and that we find funny. Regardless of whether they are funny or not, normally the humour with which we communicate them will infect others by our smile and the way we say it.
Seeing that others react positively to these little spontaneous verbal inventions will, in turn, make us more self-confident, which will make it easier for us next time, strengthen our self-esteem and allow us to converse more fluently.
5. Avoid false monologues
When it comes to losing the fear of speaking, a part of us may ask ourselves that, since we are going to have to relate to someone, we at least act as if that someone does not exist, adopting the role of monologues and overwhelming our audience with a torrent of (memorized) phrases without expecting too much feedback from those who listen to us. That is why we must bear in mind that in any dialogue there must be room for naturalness and empathy.
If we are planning to participate in a dialogue and we realize that we are preparing long sentences or directly a paragraph of what could be our biography, the best thing we can do is to change strategy and bet on short term : simply start a conversation in a simple way and make the other person participate immediately afterwards, to establish an empathic connection.
In this way, we will have already done the most difficult thing: started a dialogue. We will take care of it after we have turned this exchange of ideas into something meaningful; normally, this happens naturally if we have something to say and we are not blinded by fear.
6. Pay attention to what happens in the context
Part of the conversation is always related to the context in which it takes place. Therefore, when talking we have to take into account that there are certain conventions and expectations related to the space and the moment in which the dialogue is established. It is necessary to take this into account in order to adapt to the situation, but beyond very formal contexts such as those related to the professional and work environment, it is not worth becoming obsessed with the subject either, as this can kill our creativity and our capacity to surprise.
But, in addition, paying attention to what is happening around us in real time will give us opportunities to keep the conversation flowing from what we are observing. Seeing the environment in which we talk more as a collection of possibilities to feed the dialogue rather than as a limiting aspect of it will make it easier for us to lose our fear of conversations.